This set includes three films;
The Big Job
The Lavender Hill Mob
Make Mine a Million
For a Sid James fan the first of these is the gem. A well cast story of James and his gang attempting to recover some stolen loot plays a little like a live action Roadrunner cartoon. One scheme fails only to be replaced by another doomed plan. There may be no anvil but they do manage to work in a harpoon at one point. Supporting cast includes Sylvia Syms (underused in comedy but very good here), Dick Emery, Jim Dale, Lance Percival and Joan Sims. The collection is worth buying for this film alone as it is funny with a wonderful feel of the period it was made.
The Lavender Hill Mob is one of Ealing Studio's finest comedies without doubt - but hardly a Sid James vehicle. His role as one of the mob - a burglar who carries around press clippings of his most well known work - is good but the film belongs to the main stars Alec Guinness and Stanley Holloway. So an odd choice for a James centered collection.
Make Mine A Million is perhaps the weakest film on offer here. A decidedly average fifties comedy. The story of exploiting television coverage to advertise washing powder doesn't offer much chance for comedy gold. Its watchable of course but James and Askey have to work hard. If nothing else the film illustrates the love hate relationship of British cinema with the rise of television during this time.
Sid James had a long career in British films but, as someone who liked to keep busy, this often took the form of cameos or playing as part of an ensemble. It is a pity that films featuring him in a more central role could not have been included in the set but perhaps the selection illustrates this fact.